Nov 14 2018
God named Ishmael ‘God hears’ before he was born. Years later, God heard Ishmael’s cry when he was perishing in the wilderness and opened his mother’s eyes to see a spring of water from which she gave him drink – and he lived!
Islam claims Ishmael as a spiritual forefather. Today’s
Muslims are in the wilderness perishing and crying out for living water. Let the Church pray to the Father to reveal the well of living water, Jesus, so they might live!
Fixing our eyes on Jesus
Muslim-Christian dialogue. Some value it as a bridge-building strategy essential in a world where Muslims and Christians, characteristically distrustful of each other, make up almost half the world’s population. Some see it as battlefield where strategy and firepower determine who emerges as the victor. Let’s review one such dialogue from both perspectives. I didn’t attend the dialogue, but received reports from two friends – one an expert on Islam and a long-time Christian who has recently been sensing God’s call to love Muslims, and I watched some video.
A large evangelical church hosted the event. About 250 attended, mostly Christians. A professional Christian apologist spoke for about 30 minutes on the topic of sacrifice and forgiveness in Christianity, followed by an imam, well known in Canada as a leader and effective spokesman for Islam, speaking on the same topics from an Islamic perspective. Questions from the audience followed.
Although the presentation by the Christian was excellent, much of what he said was apparently lost in the half hour following when the imam spoke. Both of my informants described the imam as a very likable man. My friend the expert knew that some of what he was saying about Islam was not true, or only partially true; but the majority of the audience was not in a position to discern that. (For example, the imam said Islam believes Jesus will come again, but behind the Islamic Mahdi. He did not add that Muhammad said when Jesus comes, He will slay the Christians and Jews.) My other friend, hoping the imam had no hidden motives, was elated that Christians and Muslims were talking and trying to love each other and God together.
Some of the audience asked good questions, while others asked questions that allowed the imam to further expound on his version of Islam. At the conclusion of the event as the audience left, they eagerly snapped up free copies of the imam’s book available at the door.
Bridge building? For most people there – probably yes. But some might say this bridge only goes one way:
- There were very few Muslims in the audience.
- The Christian apologist did not have opportunity to answer the claims of the imam.
- The Muslim apologist gave out free books for follow-up.
Battlefield? It was a de facto battlefield, but few realized it.
- Strategy: Without a strategy, things can “go south.” Did the organizers want people to leave with a more favourable attitude toward Islam?
- Smoke: Some of the truths about Islam were hidden and not challenged.
- Seduction: We so desire to be kind and good to people, and to be perceived as such, that we sometimes make excuses for their ideas and ideology.
We confess that Islam is an antichrist religion.
We fix our eyes on Jesus (proclaim the Apostle’s Creed).
We agree with Scripture that “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 Jn 5:12).
We pray for believers to abide in God’s word, because Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:31-32).
We pray church leaders will be wise and discerning, not naïve, because they are responsible for souls (Hb 13:17, Mt 10:16); and that they will get trained for victory.
We pray key Muslim leaders will have revelations of Jesus Christ – King of Kings, Son of God, Savior, Lord, Redeemer and Deliverer – and they will be released from captivity into the glorious freedom of the sons of God.
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